I’ve never been a winner. I don’t have medals, ribbons on the wall or trophies on a shelf. I didn’t get starring roles and I was no prom queen. But this week I know how it feels to win. Sweet. And I owe it all to the Carpenter – and you.

I’m slightly embarrassed to write these words because I’m not sure how one expresses their excitement without seeming conceited. But I figure since I don’t think of you as a reader – rather I see our relationship as one giant group therapy session – I can celebrate just this once.

Last week, I was named Humour Columnist of the Year at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s annual awards gala. It’s a pretty big deal for me because the Carpenter came along too. When my name was announced he shouted, “You did it!” His smile was enough for me. I didn’t win. We won. Together.

Imagine for a second, if you will, what it’s like to be married to me. Not just married to me, but add almost a decade of dating me to the forefront of the nuptials. Based on what you know of me thus far, I believe you have a fair scale with which to determine just how incredibly challenging, frustrating and entertaining it is to have me for a spouse. I think the word you are searching for is colourful. Yes, that’s it. Life is never black and white in my world. There is spectrum of mood disorder colours and I never, ever colour in the lines.

For marrying a girl with a sense of humour and a dream to be a writer, the Carpenter solidified a future for himself that is nothing short of a roller coaster ride without the money to pay for the ticket. His reward? Every week I publicize personal details of our life with neighbours, strangers and parents at the hockey arena. Imagine if your spouse did that.

I may have received the award that night but the Carpenter got that prize for being the most sportsmanlike partner in a committed relationship where the other partner should likely be committed.

Realizing he was proud of me in that moment mattered more than any accolade ever could. He is my muse. Often heard to say, “this is going to be a column, isn’t it?” right after he does something foolish, to his credit, the Carpenter has never edited a word of what you read. He is my punch line. Secretly, he likes it.

Driving home, I said, “You know what this award means, right?” I didn’t wait for an answer. “It means that my kind of crazy has been validated. It means my ADD tendencies are a positive attribute. It means maybe I’m more normal than I realize.”

“Nothing about you is normal, Kell,” he said.

Good answer. Normal is overrated. My weird, wonderful life is blessed with the simple gift of love and I am smart enough to know it. I have the Carpenter and our amazing children to thank for that. They inspire every word you read.

But without readers, there would be no point in Write Out of Her Mind, so Wellington County, this one’s for you. Home truly is where the heart is and this is our home. Thanks for the group therapy. More to come.